A Dutch diabetes expert has claimed that patients who suffer from type 1 diabetes could be cured of their condition, possibly years after they were originally diagnosed.
The study, which was partly funded by the Diabetes Fund, was carried out by Professor Bart Roep at the Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands and showed that people with type 1 diabetes still have dormant insulin-producing cells. Previous studies had argued that these cells were no longer present in such patients, as they are killed off by antibodies. Professor Roep says that there is a chance these cells can be reactivated to cure the patient, even after 10 years from the original diagnosis.
It was reported that the research had pinpointed which antibodies are involved, and hopes that this will enable “the development of a vaccine which specifically addresses these malfunctioning antibodies.”
Although the study is still at an early phase, the numbers of people with type 1 diabetes around the world (and there are thought to be 50,000 in the Netherlands alone) would find the breakthrough of great interest if realised. However, Professor Roep did admit that the potential for a preventative vaccine such as that given to people with some types of meningococcal bacteria, remains only a prospect and much work needs to be done.

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